Ribble & South Downs Way Double

Nutrition / Fuel

I’ve got a pretty solid carb heavy meal plan that I’m going to stick with for the meals before the ride. I’m also happy with energy management across the 100 miles that I’ve done now.

The unknown for me and where I’ve come to rely on Dan a fair amount is past the 100-mile mark. While the body and muscles crave fuel over something so demanding, the stomach and digestive process also goes on strike. Solids only pile up in a holding pattern waiting for the body’s unions to come to an agreement enabling the digestive process to get back to work. As usual when on strike, nothing gets done.

The South Downs Way was the first bridleway National Trail in England.

Unless, there’s a work around. And the work around in this case are gels and liquids. They will get those essential nutrients to the muscles, strike or no strike, and keep everything turning. Bonus too, gels and electrolyte tabs take less space and weigh less than solids!

Fortunately, the South Downs Way draws a lot of people and over the years water taps have been installed across the trail for people to help themselves.

So, between the plan I’ve devised with Dan’s help, the 4 litres of water I’ll be carrying from the off as well as the taps along the way, I’m confident fuelling and hydration bases are covered.

Mental Stamina & Preparedness

Something as arduous as this doesn’t just require physical prep, tossing the bank card in the back pocket and away you go.

It’s tough on the old psyche too.

And, requires mental preparation too. Having the physical prep under way, learning the route more and more and having a fuelling strategy in place is giving me greater confidence that 200-miles going up and down in less than 24-hours is an achievable goal.

The cyclist is always King!

This is all contributing to my mental preparation.

The other thing that helps me get into the mindset of doing something is having a goal fixed in place. I certainly couldn’t wake up tomorrow and ride the route.

But, having a date in July in place, I can count down to that day, watching it get closer… and tremble!


As with any event, a big obstacle is getting to and from the start.

In the case of the South Downs Way, the traditional start points are on either end – in Eastbourne or in Winchester. I’m 30 miles away from Eastbourne and 70 miles from Winchester.

Fortunately, with the Double, the rules state that a rider can start anywhere on the path so long as they complete a full loop. This put the ball back in my court as far as planning logistics! AND, a mate really stepped up. He runs a coffee truck – Sussex Coffee Trucks – and regularly sets up shop on top of the Ditchling Beacon. He said it’d be possible to leave kit with him and access when passing through! Legend! No need to carry enough food/ gels for 200 miles (there are no shops en-route).

After the Atlas Mountains the rolling South Downs are like child’s play to the Adventure Ti.


So, there we have it.

Covid has caused confusion and difficulties for myself as well as many, many other people. But, I’ve decided to try and make a positive of this time by ticking off a big goal.

July is when I’m lining up to ride the South Downs Way Double – 200 off-road miles in less than 24-hours. After it’s done and after I’ve recovered (if I ever do), I’ll collect together my thoughts and get a follow up too with reflections on the literal and proverbial highs and lows. Watch this space!

You can read about Eoghan’s epic attempt to complete the gruelling Atlas Mountain Race here.

Longtime friends experience the journey of a lifetime when they go bikepacking to Nepal on Ribble Adventure 725 bikes. See how they got on here.

1 Comment
  1. Hi. My advice is to carry all your own food so you don’t have to stop at a point where you might be going well. All the fast double times have been self supported, alpine style.
    Tim Young.
    Double club member number 20 (2015)

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